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This topic is adapted from the Jeff Rose YouTube channel.

Managing money is a basic life challenge. Everyone wants to succeed in this area, but additional challenges arise when a couple manages money together. Facing the financial demands of raising kids and paying for their college, as well as financing retirement, a couple can still be successful in money management.

Money Talk

Knowing what your spouse thinks and feels about money requires good communication. It’s not just about using the right words to share with one another. Understanding what is important to one another is critical.

In-depth discussion will lead to better understanding of each other’s money talk which expresses the values each one holds about money and how to manage finances. The temptation is to assume that your spouse thinks the same way about money and finances as you do. This is a dangerous assumption.

Money talk should begin even before your marriage begins. Finding common ground on financial goals early on can give a great advantage to your marriage. Further, you can identify areas where some compromise is needed, even working out that compromise before you begin your marriage.

Planners and Spenders

Most individuals fall into the categories, financially speaking, of “planners” or “spenders.” Knowing which you are and which your spouse is will help you learn how to manage your finances as a couple.

Planners are forward-thinking. They tend to emphasize savings and the creation of wealth. Major concerns for them are purchasing a home, saving for the kids’ college, and retirement. They can become consumed with worry when they are unconvinced that enough preparation and actual saving is occurring for these types of major life events.

Spenders “live in the moment.” They worry that there is enough money for the needs of today. While they will agree with the planner that these major life events off in the future are important, they are focused on today’s concerns.

Ideally, there is a spender and a planner in each marriage. Planning for the future is as much a strength as prioritizing for today. When combined harmoniously, a synergy for success can occur.

[Related: Bringing Wisdom to Our Money]

Prioritize Your Money Goals

A simple trick to make sure you are following through on accomplishing your money goals is to have the money for savings, college expenses, and retirement set aside immediately. By setting aside these funds, you can focus on what your bank balance is, not spending money that you intended to save.

The same is true of your goals for charitable or church giving. If you have a goal of giving a tithe regularly, you are more likely to be successful if you give that money first before you do any other spending. Otherwise, you might spend rather than give.

[Related: Evaluating Your Monthly Giving]

Retirement Savings or College Savings

Couples often wonder what should take priority: saving for retirement or saving for the children’s college? Though you love your children and want to avoid college debt, consider the benefits of focusing first on retirement. By taking care of your financial future first, you avoid being a financial burden to your children later.

To manage money effectively as a couple, it is important to understand each other’s money values and expectations. Understand yourself first and then your spouse. Are you and your spouse planners, spenders, or one of each? Set clear money goals and boundaries and establish financial practices that will lead you to achieve those goals.

Written content on this topic by David Bassett.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of being a planner.
  4. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of being a spender.
  5. Share whether you are a planner or a spender and how you feel that strengthens or weakens your marriage.
  6. Read Jeremiah 29:11 and discuss the way God models the planner for us.
  7. Read Malachi 3:8-10 and discuss God’s directive for giving.
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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